Tag Archives: lapland

Our Magical Trip To Lapland, Rovaniemi With Thomas Cook

Last Christmas we had looked into taking Oscar and Archie on a Family Trip To Lapland, Rovaniemi in Finland as we had read so many amazing reviews but were advised as Archie would have only been two at the time (two weeks off three) to leave it another year as A. He would enjoy it so much more and B. He would hold his heat better in the very cold temperatures. There are lots of companies that sell Lapland experiences whether it be a day trip or a slightly longer break.

After looking at several different websites we decided to book and travel with Thomas Cook. The booking process was quick and easy online and at the time they even had an online discount code like they do at the moment which gives you £150 off any booking over £1500. If you can use the code BOOKIT at the checkout you can claim this saving. Thomas Cook offer three different Lapland packages; The Santa Sleigh Day, The Sleigh Bell Sleepover which is for one night and Santa’s Festive Adventure which is for three nights.

After speaking with friends who had either been for the day or for a few days we picked The Santa Sleigh Day. For a family of four (two adults and two children) the total cost of the trip is £2,134. It works out to be £533 per person. This includes

  • Meet Santa (each child aged 2-12yrs receives a gift)
  • Meet Rudolph and friends
  • Sled dog/husky sled ride
  • Explore Santa’s Village and cross the Arctic Circle
  • Free time for family fun and sledging
  • Lunch with soft drinks, plus inflight meals
  • Thermal suits and boots

After the trip being booked back in January we managed to keep the secret from Oscar and Archie until the night before. I had packed in secret and then when we arrived at Gatwick Oscar did start to wonder where we were going. Once we got to our hotel room we gave the boys each a special ticket and a beautiful card that we had made by The Fox & The Paintbox with all the details inside. They were both so excited as was I!

The next morning we got up at 4.30am and went over to the terminal, checked in and got something to eat. At the check-in we were greeted by two Thomas Cook reps who were then with us throughout the whole trip. When we got on the plane everyone on board was excited and in a festive mood and throughout the flight the reps put on a Christmas quiz, we sang Christmas songs and watched the Snowman.

When we arrived at Rovaniemi airport which is tiny we were greeted by lots of elves who directed us to our coach. (I also asked the customs officer to stamp Oscar & Archie’s passport which they kindly did.) Once on board we drove to the changing area where you are given your thermal suit and boots. We brought our own coats, boots, thermal socks and under layer thermals, ski gloves and hats with us and got all the boys essentials from AlexAndAlexa.com who have a vast range of amazing ski wear. You are also given a bag with your family name labelled on it to put anything you don’t need to carry around with you and this stays under the coach as you stay with the same coach for the entirety on the trip. This was really handy and meant I just carried around the essentials in my backpack for the rest of the day.

We then drove on to the activity place where we were each given a lanyard with the four activities on them to get marked off as we did them so we didn’t miss anything out. As we walked in to the woodland area I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Snow everywhere, a dimly lit sky and trees everywhere, it was breathtaking. Firstly we went inside Father Christmas’ house and he looked absolutely fantastic. He chatted to the boys and then gave them each a present (for children aged 2-12 years) which was a lovely plush husky dog. We then had a photo taken with him.

We then explored and wherever you walked were little teepee tents where you could sit inside next to a warm fire. There was also an area where you could get a cup of warm berry juice and some gingerbread biscuits. There is nowhere to purchase food and drink here so I could recommend bringing lots of snacks and water as it is quite a long time between breakfast on the plane until you go for your lunch.

We were then greeted by the Reindeer. Here you could meet and stroke them as well as go on an amazing Reindeer ride. Each family has a sleigh to themselves and we were pulled through what looked like Narnia, it was so beautiful. The boys absolutely loved the ride and stroked the Reindeer afterwards. I am sure it is something they will remember forever.

We then spent some time having snow ball fights and sledging which was great fun and the Thomas Cook reps also put on games and kept the children entertained.

We walked to where the Husky rides were and every family has an individual ride. I underestimated how fast the Husky ran. It was a great ride and the boys loved being pulled through the snow at such speed! By this time it was about 4.30pm and was already dark here in Finland. The sky is beautiful but sadly it wasn’t cold enough to see the Northern Lights. We were told that the best time to see them is in October so that’s a trip we definitely want to take Oscar and Archie on.

We had some more free time and enjoyed a warm berry juice around the fire and then went back on the coach on a short ride to where we were having lunch. Lunch was at a traditional Finish restaurant and I had a lovely soup and warm bread and Greg had a chicken and rice dish. To be honest the boys weren’t to impressed with the food options, they tried the soup but mostly ate the bread. There could have been a couple of simpler options for the kids I thought. But the food we did have was delicious.

We then took a two-minute drive on the coach to Santa’s Village. This is a much more touristy place with more people around as at the activity place it wasn’t busy at all which felt nice and relaxed. Firstly as a group we all crossed the Arctic Circle together which was a fun experience.

I took about €200 with us and in Santa’s Village there are shops, places to eat and other things to spend money on. I went to Santa’s official post office and sent the boys a hard each back home as you get a Santa’s official post office and Arctic circle stamp on the card when it reaches home. I also brought a couple of souvenirs and Greg and the boys brought bags of chocolate in the chocolate shop. There are also mini snowmobiles for the kids to ride on which Oscar went on which was €20 each for ten laps. He really enjoyed this.

Once we had explored the village we headed back to the coach which took us back to the changing village where we got back into our coats and gave the thermal suits back and then headed back to the airport. The airport is tiny but had a little cafe and a shop and the Thomas Cook reps also gave all the kids a Snowman activity pack as we got off the coach which kept them entertained whilst we waited for our flight home.

The flight home included dinner and the boys slept most of the way back as they were exhausted from such a fun filled magical day.

We had the most amazing trip and if we do it again in a couple of years I would book the Santa’s Festive Adventure three night trip so we have more time to relax in Finland and explore a bit more and hopefully see the Northern Lights. If you are looking to book a similar trip I hope you have found this post useful. Also a big thank you to Thomas Cook who made our trip really special.

Get Ski Season Ready At AlexAndAlexa.com

Last week we took Oscar and Archie on a surprise trip to Rovaniemi in Finland to visit Father Christmas in Lapland. The trip had been booked for about 9 months but we managed to keep it a secret and then told them the night before at the hotel at Gatwick before we flew. I had seen from my weather app that it was going to be about -5 and could go as low as -12 so made sure we had everything we needed to stay warm. And with so many people going off skiing after Christmas and in the February half term AlexAndAlexa.com have everything you need to keep your children warm and stylish on the slopes. Thanks to AlexAndAlexa.com it was so easy to pick the perfect pieces for the boys, so we didn’t have to worry about them feeling the cold.

Firstly I picked their base layers, which without a doubt for any cold trip is a number one priority for any outfit. I picked them matching pairs from Tenson who sell a huge range of fantastic ski wear at affordable prices. Oscar and Archie’s came as a set and the Tenson base layers are currently in the AlexAndAlexa sale and you can use the code SHOP20 for an extra 20% off all sale items! I also chose Oscar some Tenson Moss Boots which come in either black or blue and they kept his feet lovely and warm. The boots are made from a warm and water-resistant material, which was perfect in the deep snow and the velcro closure made it easy to get them on and off. I was advised to get a size up to make sure they fitted in thick socks and this was great advice as they fitted perfectly!

For Archie I picked the Adidas Performance Blue Terrex Snow Boots. I loved the way they looked and knew Archie would love them as he loves anything blue. The boots have a waterproof climaproof® protection, PrimaLoft® insulation for maximum warmth for little feet and the adjustable strap over the laces gives a secure fit, while the grippy outsole offers added traction on snowy trails or sidewalks. Archie played in the snow for hours and the boots kept his feet warm the whole time. Under his boots he wore some Bart’s Snake Merino ski socks which not only looked great, kept the cold anyway and kept his little feet lovely and snug. AlexAndAlexa have a great range of ski socks in lots of fun designs.

When playing in the snow or skiing your hands can get so cold. When I put my hands in the snow last week stupidly without gloves on to make a snowball my lands literally throbbed, they were frozen. The last thing as a parent with your children in cold climates is them to get upset because they are cold. I knew we would be sledging and that Oscar and Archie would want to play in the snow so I picked some fantastic gloves for them from Molo. Oscar has the Molo Very Black Mackenzie Pro Gloves. Inside the gloves the lining is super soft and keeps your hands lovely and warm and on the outside there is a PU leather non-slip palm. They were easy for Oscar to put on and off on his own and I had packed hand warmers to use but we didn’t need them as these gloves are so good. I also picked a Molo pair for Archie, the Black Active Mack Gloves which again like Oscar’s were perfect and kept Archie’s hands warm whilst he played in the snow. Archie also wore his Molo Evening Blue Kate Hat which kept him so warm when we had to wear the snowsuits that were provided in Lapland.

On top of his base layers Oscar wore a long-sleeved t-shirt and then his AI Riders On The Storm Navy tracksuit. Oscar gets so many comments on how cool he looks when he wears this tracksuit, it is his absolute favourite. The AI Riders range is just so cool and with the goggles in the hood which are protective eye patches everyone asked where it was from. The tracksuit comes as two separate pieces; the sweatpants and the hooded sweatshirt. The tracksuit is super soft and is made from soft cotton and kept Oscar warm the whole trip. The top has added details as well as the goggles, a yellow pom-pom on the top and breathable hole designs for when your hood is fully zipped up. The sweatshirt is £119 and the sweatpants are £89. Loving the AI Riders range as much as I do I also got Archie a Winter coat too. We picked the AI Riders On The Storm Blue Down Navy Lining Goggle Hood Coat. Archie absolutely loves it and finds it so funny when we are out to zip it right up and show everybody. Again it has the removable protective goggles and the yellow pom-pom and has two zip up pockets as well. All of the AI Riders items come with a protective bag to store your goggles in when they are not in use. The coat is lovely and padded and wherever Archie wears it whether its in the snow or watching Oscar play football in the wind in the rain he is always kept warm and protects himself from the wind and rain with his zip up hood.

Under his coat, on top of his base layers, Archie wore the most adorable long sleeved top and jumper from the Moschino Christmas collection. These are all in the AlexAndAlexa sale at the moment and I have even brought it in the next size up all ready for next Christmas. The jumper and top are so festive and he has worn them to see Father Christmas at Harrods and to the panto and will be wearing them tomorrow on Christmas Day. He loves them!

Oscar wanted to chose his own coat so sat on their website for ages and in the end decided to be matching with me and picked a Moncler Black Bady Down Hooded Coat. It is SO warm with thick, cosy padding and a detachable hood. It looks great with a tracksuit underneath or when your off out smart in jeans or chinos. On the arm it has the Moncler badge on top of a small pocket and has two zip up pockets as well. This seasons Moncler ski range is to die for. I love the new Abeville coats and matching Salopettes, they will look great on the slopes! Oscar also has the Moncler Grey Maglia Lupetto Fleece which he wears all the time with Jeans and it is a smart jumper but keeps him lovely and warm too.

If you are going Skiing or venturing off to somewhere cold AlexAndAlexa.com will make kitting your kids out so easy. With their amazing sale on at the moment you can pick up some stylish steals! And don’t forget to use the code SALE20 to get an extra 20% off all sale pieces, but be quick before the sale ends!

 

This post is in collaboration with AlexandAlexa.com

 

Review: The Magic Of Lapland UK

Yesterday we went to Lapland UK in Ascot. When I was asked to do a review for them last month I was so excited for the boys as I had seen a lot of reviews and photos last year and it looked absolutely magical! I love Christmas and try to make it as special as possible for Oscar and Archie every year like my parents did for me.

Oscar and Archie’s personalised invites from Father Christmas arrived in the post and we surprised them with them the night before, on Saturday night. Their elves delivered them and Oscar couldn’t believe he had been invited to Lapland by Father Christmas as Daddy read their letters to them. He was bouncing up and down with excitement!

Lapland UK opened on Saturday the 19th of November and closes on Christmas Eve 2016. The tours run from 9am-5pm. Tickets start at £65.50 per person and included in your ticket price is a personalised invitation to every child from Father Christmas by post, a child elf passport, all activities including ice skating, a personalised meeting with Father Christmas, a luxury gift from Father Christmas for every child over 12 months of age, a souvenir photograph with Father Christmas for each family and a Thank you card from Father Christmas for each child on Christmas morning. Tickets have sold like hot cakes so that avoid disappointment book quickly HERE.


We were booked on the 9am tour so left home after breakfast and as we were the first tour it was lovely and easy to park. We walked through the enchanted forest to the Elf check in where Oscar and Archie received their elf passports. The tour takes three and a half hours and on the back of your passport is the time that Father Christmas will be ready to see you. Oscar and Archie’s passports said 12.00 and Oscar kept asking me throughout the morning how long he had left until he would meet the big man himself.

We then went through the magical wooden doors into the most magical room where we were greeted by Sage the elf who really got the children’s imaginations going and then Echo the elf of nature. It was great that they managed to get across to the children how important nature is and how they must help to look after it. We were in the Husky group so after saying the Elves magical pass rhyme we were let through the magic door into Lapland.

Behind the door we were greeted by beautiful fir trees covered in snow and we followed the path all the way to the Toy factory. We met Whittle and Conker the elves and Wish the elf who watch over the small folk to make sure their wishes come true. The toy factory is amazing, it reminded me of the toy factory in the 1985 classic ‘Santa Claus The Movie’ which is my favourite Christmas film ever! With wooden toys spinning around on the ceiling, to the ornate furniture and elf tools it blew me away at the attention to detail and hugely surpassed my expectations. Oscar and Archie sat at the work benches and stuffed the cuddly reindeer and built wooden teddies. When they had finished Whittle the elf stamped their elf passports and we sung The Elf Song.



On we went through the enchanted forest to Mother Christmas’ kitchen where we met her elf cooks and the children got to decorate their own gingerbread man with icing and sweets. When they were finished all the children gathered around whilst Mother Christmas read them all a story. Again the room was decorated beautifully and all the children looked amazed. After the story it was 10.30 so we were given an hour and a half to explore the Elf Village before Father Christmas was ready to meet us.



We walked to the Elf Village and when we arrived there was so much to see and do. It was hard to believe we were actually in the UK, it looked exactly how I imagined Lapland would look. As a child it must be the most magical experience! The Elf Village has a restaurant, a cafe where we sat and had a cup of tea and a salt beef sandwich sitting on benches covered in furs to keep us warm. We then went to the Elf post office, Oscar wrote his letter to Father Christmas with Elva the postmistress who stamped their passports and changed up some money to elf jingles for Oscar to spend in Pixie Mixie’s elf sweet shop. The sweet shop was full of pick ‘n’ mix and Archie loved the smarties, which the elf behind the counter kindly gave him a few.


The Elf Emporium is full of beautiful decorations and gifts. I was surprised at how reasonably priced everything in there was. Usually when you go on a day out with a gift shop the prices are extortionate. I spotted a lovely Christmas plate and when I took it to the till I expected them to say it was £20 but it was only £9 and I love it!

Greg and Oscar went on the village pond ice rink. They both like ice skating and each Christmas we go to somewhere fun so they can skate. The scene was picturesque, everyone skating on the ice rink, snow falling off the snow covered trees and the log cabins in the village buzzing with excited children. A lot of children’s Christmas’ were made yesterday. After 20 minutes or so of skating we went and met the beautiful Husky dogs.


At 12.00 we met one of the Husky trainers by the bauble shop where you can make your own baubles and walked through the enchanted forest until we got to Father Christmas’ reindeer and his sleigh. Oscar couldn’t believe that all the presents can magically fit on one sleigh! Oscar then prepared his own magic reindeer food to keep and leave out on Christmas Eve.

Finally we made it to a wooden lodge where we told the Elf at the desk who we were then sat and waited for a few minutes until we were collected by another Elf to walk to Father Christmas’ lodge. We met other elves and children along the way and finally made it to the lodge. The Elf went inside and we could here Father Christmas talking about Oscar and Archie through the door. Oscar was bursting with excitement and the look on his little face made my day. Both Oscar and Archie then knocked on the big wooden door and in we went.


Father Christmas was sitting in his chair with his giant good list book. A fire was burning behind him and a beautiful Christmas tree stood in the corner. Before your visit you fill in information online so Father Christmas knows things about your children. He said to Oscar that he heard he had been busy playing the piano and Archie had been watching Teletubbies and that Oscar’s best friend Oliver was also on the good list. Oscar looked at him in utter amazement that he knew so much about them. We had a photo taken with Father Christmas and one photo is included in your ticket price, others you can buy at an extra charge.

Father Christmas then gave the boys a beautiful Husky soft toy each that has Lapland Uk embossed on his foot. This is a soft toy that can be kept for years to come to remind them of their magical adventure. They were also given a copy of the Lapland book, ‘The Untold Story Of Father Christmas’. This is a magical extra and only costs £10 (RRP £18.99) and Father Christmas will then give it to your child/children. It is a beautiful book, with lovely pictures and is a heart-warming tale to be enjoyed as a tradition each Christmas.

Other magical extras that you can purchase before your visit is the wooden construction Teddy Bear kit that they built in the toy factory and the reindeer that you can pick up at the end. Both of these are £25. You can also purchase the Elf Jingles which is the currency at Lapland UK but if you don’t you can pick some up at Elf check in and the Elf post office.

After we left Father Christmas we walked back through the enchanted forest and collected our photograph and there is also a shop where you can purchase different outfits for your new Husky and also pick up anything you may have ordered.

Overall Lapland UK was the most amazing day and has made this Christmas the best yet. The magic of Lapland UK is absolutely fantastic and exceeded all expectations. Just seeing the boys faces has made my Christmas already. Oscar can’t believe how lucky he is to have been. We will going back next year! So book your tickets today and experience the real magic of Christmas. Here is a video of our amazing and magical day!

 

Disclaimer: We were given tickets for the four of us to go to Lapland UK for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own and it is just so amazing!

Experiencing The Real Magic Of Christmas At LaplandUk

Yesterday I danced around the kitchen as we got our booking confirmation that we were off to LaplandUK. I absolutely love Christmas and love to make it as special as possible for the boys. I had the best Christmas’ as a child and love watching the boys faces light up when the ‘fairy’ brings the Christmas tree and the look of amazement on their little faces when they meet Father Christmas. This year will be the best yet as we have been invited along to LaplandUK for the day which will be full of Christmas magic!

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LaplandUK began in 2007, when husband and wife team Mike and Alison Battle frustrated with the UK Christmas offering available to their 4 young sons, developed the original and innovative idea of recreating Father Christmas’ mythical Arctic homeland here in the UK. I have looked at trips to Lapland before and the cost is eye watering but now there really is no need to fly all that way when LaplandUK which is only in Ascot offers the most magical Christmas experience for children (and adults), one that they will never forget.

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Elf Passports are waiting for children personally invited by Father Christmas to be stamped along a 3.5 hour mystical immersive journey where small folk make toys, decorate gingerbread with Mother Christmas, go ice skating, meet huskies and reindeer, write letters at the Elves post office and finally enjoy a personalised meeting with Father Christmas in his snowy woodland home. I cannot wait to see the boys faces! I think if I had gone somewhere like this as a child I would have burst with excitement.

Tickets start at £65.50 each and your ticket price includes a personalised invitation to your child from Father Christmas by post, a child elf passport, all activities including ice skating, a personalised meeting with Father Christmas, a luxury gift from Father Christmas for every child over 12 months of age, a souvenir photograph with Father Christmas for each family and a Thank you card from Father Christmas for each child on Christmas morning.

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I am absolutely buzzing and I am counting down the days until we go!

LaplandUK is already open it opened on Saturday 19th November and closes on Christmas Eve 2016. Tours will depart from 9.00am – 5.00pm. Book online now to avoid disappointment! The tickets are selling out fast!

Lapland reindeer